Robert Millard (1789-1845)
Robert Millard was born in 1789, but his place of birth is uncertain. There are two pieces of evidence which agree on the date but not the place. He was born 26 December 1789 in London, England, according to the Family Register1 written in 1877, by his son Walter Millard (1818-1908) and daughter-in-law Mary née Jowett. The date of 1789 is compatible with his age of 50 (i.e. 50 to 54) recorded in the 1841 census2, but that indicates that he was born in Somerset. No record of a christening has been found for him. The Family Register states that he was the second son of Joseph Millard of Coleford in the parish of Kilmersdon, but there is no reference to a Joseph Millard in the Kilmersdon parish registers transcript3. It is therefore not clear where the family came from, and the New Zealand descendants of Robert have a tradition that the Millards were descended from Huguenots. This would make sense of a London connection, and Millard and similar names appear in the Huguenot Society records.
Robert married Martha Button (1792-1877) on 11 August 1812 at Mells, Somerset. This is recorded in the Family Register1 and also appears in the Mells parish register, which gives his abode as Coleford in the parish of Kilmersdon. They had nine children born at Coleford or nearby Lypeat between 1813 and 1831, and the dates recorded in the Family Register agree with the dates in the Kilmersdon Parish registers.
According to the Centenary History of Coleford Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School4, which drew heavily on a letter from Walter Millard5, Robert was Sunday School Superintendent for many years until 1833.
In 1836 Robert and Martha were beneficiaries of the will of her father Samuel Button of Vobster in the parish of Mells, inheriting some money and a house at Vagend, near Coleford.6
Robert's will7 of 1846 does not indicate any relationships, nor name any other Millards, except his wife.
In the 1841 census, his will and at the christenings of his children Robert is described as a carpenter.
Robert died 7 August 1845, and was buried in the graveyard of the Wesleyan Chapel at Coleford. Martha died in 1877 and was buried in tehe same grave. Their gravestone is inscribed: "Robert Millard In life greatly respected in death deeply lamented. Aug 7 1845 56 years. Martha died March 1877 aged 84 years Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."
1. The Family Register of Robert and
Martha Millard [by] Walter and Mary Millard March 1877 now in the
possession of Andrew Millard
2. 1841 Census of England and
Wales for Coleford. HO107/948 book 7 folio 64 page 26
5. Letter from Walter Millard to Samuel James Millard, 25 July 1905, now in the possession of Richard James.
6. Copy of the will of Samuel Button dated 12 April 1836, now in the possession of Richard James.
7. Probate copy of the will of Robert Millard dated 6 May 1844, proved 7 May 1846 in the Consistorial Episcopal Court of Wells, now in the possession of Richard James.